Korean arts delegation to visit South on Sunday: Seoul

United States' Becca Hamilton releases the stone during a match against Switzerland in the Women's World Curling Championship in Beijing. No one will work longer hours at the Pyeongchang Olympics than

The 22 athletes will compete in three sports and a total of five disciplines, including figure skating, short-track speed skating, cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing, in addition to hockey.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hosted a meeting in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss North Korea's participation in Pyeongchang, the BBC reports.

The IOC has approved that delegations from the two countries be marching together as one under the name "Korea" at the Opening Ceremony and led into the Olympic Stadium by the Korean Unification Flag, carried by two athletes from the two NOCs respectively.

Incorporating North Korean players to a settled South Korean ice hockey team could also pose problems, as the team's coach, Sarah Murray, highlighted this week.

South Korea is to send its own advance team to North Korea on Tuesday to review logistics for a joint cultural event at the North's Diamond Mountain and their non-Olympic skiers' joint practices at the North's Masik ski resort, the ministry said. In South Korea, it was felt a unified 23-member team would prevent deserving South Korean skaters from participating.

"The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding", said Bach in a post-meeting statement.

"We are turning the Pyeongchang Olympics that we've got into the Pyongyang Olympics", said Hong Joon Pyo, leader of South Korea's main conservative opposition party, referring to North Korea's capital. South Korean media have predicted only up to 10 North Korean athletes will end up being covered by an additional quota from the IOC.

But Ms. Hyon's troupe, made up of young North Korean women known for their beauty, is expected to steal the Olympic show among South Koreans, many of whom detest the North Korean regime but feel ethnic affinity for their northern neighbors.

The moves are part of a flurry of activity that has followed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's conciliatory New Year's Day message towards the South.

Leading the delegation to prepare the cultural performances around the Pyeongchang games will be Hyon Song-wol, leader of the all-female western-style Moranbong band, and reputedly ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un.

The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it had reduced the pool of Russian athletes eligible to compete at next month's Pyeongchang winter Olympics to 389 from 500.

In addition, an art troupe, a 30-strong North Korean taekwondo demonstration team and press corps will travel south, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters in Seoul. MCST also announced plans to boost inter-Korean exchange in other areas with North Korea's participation in the Olympics. And to make this happen, the two Koreas have held talks during the last two days. The past year has been marked by aggressive rhetoric not just from Pyongyang, which has drawn criticism for its nuclear and missile tests, but also from Washington, where President Trump has threatened military action to pressure the North.

The united women's hockey team will be the first time the two Koreas will have joined together in Olympic events.



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